Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent (Divergent #1)
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Released: February 2012
Source: my personal library

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

I’m a sucker for dystopian fiction, whether it’s a classic such as Fahrenheit 451 or The Handmaid’s Tale, or a more recent title such as The Hunger Games or Wool. Last week I (finally!) gave Veronica Roth’s Divergent a try. I’m going to try to stay vague so that I don’t spoil the story for anyone.

The society in Divergent doesn’t seem all that bad, though I disagree with the “seemingly perfect” description mentioned in the synopsis. I mean, the “factionless” are right there from the start, and I wouldn’t call their situation perfect by any means. People seem to have the choice of which faction they wish to belong to, but it’s a permanent decision (no changing factions later on) and not a guarantee.

There is a romance which takes a good while to develop. It’s not overdone at all. There are also a couple of silly girly moments which reminded me that this is a YA novel, but truly, these moments were very brief.

You know what I loved most about this book? Tris wasn’t a perfect, put-her-up-on-a-pedestal kind of heroine. She does possess all of the qualities important in a great protagonist, but she also has a darker side and we see her flaws clearly.

Divergent is the first in a series, so it ends on a cliffhanger. This is a fun, entertaining page-turner you don’t have to think about too deeply. I can’t wait to read the other books and find out what happens next.